Chelsea ran riot in their 4-1 FA Cup fourth round victory against Peterborough this past weekend. Yet despite a tremendous team performance, the biggest positive for the Blues was the return of Kurt Zouma who played the entire 90 minutes after returning from an 11-month injury.
Proud to return
The defender looked as if he had never missed a minute and pushed through the game without any fitness issues and was happy to be back, telling the club's website it was a "proud moment" to be "back" and playing a full game. Zouma received a fantastic reaction from the Chelsea fans upon his return which he called "amazing" and after being out for such a "long time" the promising footballer is just "happy" to be back doing what he does best and is not ready to play his part in the rest of the season.
Zouma thanked Chelsea's medical staff who he claimed have been "brilliant" throughout his recovery process, stating that they have done a "great job" as they were all "behind him" and "prepared him" for his return to action. After playing "four games" for Chelsea's development squad to get back into match fitness, it is clear that the medical team's preparation had worked as he sailed through a competitive 90 minutes with ease.
Praise for the boss
As well as being his first game in almost a year Zouma's return was also his first under new boss, Antonio Conte who he praised for always keeping him involved and talking to him like he "talks to everyone" despite his injury. Conte made sure that Zouma was part of Chelsea's pre-season tour which allowed him to be with the players and "get close to them" and it was made very clear from the boss that Zouma was part of his plans when Conte told him, "When you are back I want you to play."
Now back and playing Zouma returns at a crucial time as the games begin to come thick and fast. adding the defender to his list of options is surely going to be a boost to Conte and will no doubt make his team selection continue to be a difficult decision.